What is Rebel Marketplace
Rebel Marketplace belongs to a group of businesses founded by James Grevious. Rebel Marketplace is technically a farmers’ market, but it does so much more – it’s the first farmer’s market in east Denver to promote urban agriculture while building business capacity and community.
Beyond simply selling food, James hopes to foster economic empowerment in parts of the city that need it most. By creating a local food system in the Aurora area, he can provide good jobs to lower-income folks, while also bringing much-needed fruit and produce to food deserts around the city.
James uses three companies to build an equitable local food system from the ground up. For example, Rebels in the Garden, an urban farm, allows families and small businesses to grow their own food. Urban Symbiosis, a nonprofit organization, is the fundraising leg that allows James to expand access to his services. Finally, Rebel Marketplace connects the urban farmers looking to sell their goods with the people looking to buy them.
“How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything”
In all of James’ business, you can see his unique philosophy and incredible integrity at work. A farmer himself, James borrows inspiration from nature to help grow his businesses sustainably.
“I started with an urban farm, which fed the farmer’s market. And then from that, spawned my nonprofit called Urban Symbiosis, mainly because we needed to build more to support the mission. When a component gets taken out, it falls apart, kind of like a table: there are three different components to make one kind of objective.”
This multi-pronged approach to business models the way that ecosystems work in real life. Distinct animals and plants can function separately, but each species relies on each other to truly succeed.
Jame’s approach is not only symbiotic but only localized and participant-driven.
“A lot of nonprofits keep delivering food to neighborhoods. That’s a one-and-done kind of thing –. When [interventions] come from the inside, the capacity for change grows. We’re building an infrastructure for support to come from a neighborhood instead of from the outside in.”
The Benefit of Community
James, like many business owners, founded his business in a period of transition. He had big ideas and only one person to implement them, so he knew he needed help.
Luckily, James knew that the simplest way to be the change he wanted to see was to create the right community. He joined RMMFI Business Boot Camp program in the market season of 2022 in order to get more support.
“As business owners, we don’t necessarily get to share ideas with somebody that’s going to give us really good feedback. [My mentor] Jeremy was great. The mentorship piece gave me people I can call on.”
What’s Next for Rebel Marketplace
If you’re interested in connecting with James, join him at one of the bimonthly market days this summer. You can shop at the market every first or third Saturday at Del Mar Park Aurora 312 Del Mar Circle.
The next markets will be August 19th, September 2nd & 16th, and October 7th & 21st. Follow the market at @RebelMarketPlace to stay up to date.